If, tomorrow, something goes wrong with your Mac or if it gets stolen or damaged, replacing the hardware itself is technically very easy to do; it just takes money. Here wea€™re going to talk you through the pros and cons of different ways you can back up your Mac, giving you the information you need to make an informed decision about protecting your data in the way that suits you best.
But because that detailed information might be a bit intimidating, wea€™re going to start with two simple scenarios: the a€?if you do nothing else, do thisa€? setup that is easy, cheap, and will give you some basic protection against data loss, and then our recommendation for a good mix of backup methods that should in most situations ensure your data can withstand almost any catastrophe. Buy a hard disk, plug it into your Mac and then, when prompted to use it for Time Machine backup, accept.
We encourage you to read morea€”to adopt instead our recommended system immediately below, and to discover more about the limitations of this simple backup process in a€?Time Machine to a disk connected to your Maca€? further belowa€”but dona€™t be put off by all the text that follows.
By mixing these three strategies, you get file versioning from Time Machine (great if you overwrite or delete something, or want to go back to an earlier draft of a file), the ability to quickly boot from your cloned disk if your internal drive fails (so you can keep working without missing a beat), and are safeguarded against theft or damage (whether thata€™s something like dropping your MacBook or a more serious disaster such as fire) by having your data also stored elsewhere in the world with a cloud or other remote backup system. There are other apps that can back up your files to an external hard disk, but Time Machine is simple, built-in, sure to be supported, and offers file versioning as well as simple backup; that is, older copies of your files are stored alongside the current one so that you dona€™t have to restore the most recent version, but can step back through time to grab older drafts. Time Machine can be used with a portable hard drive, so you can bring your backups with you. Good because: Set-it-and-forget-it easy, cheap, built-in, likely to be supported for a long time. But be aware that: You need to have the disk connected for back ups to happen (fine on a desktop, but not guaranteed with a laptop), ita€™s slow to restore from if you replace a failed internal hard disk (you cana€™t boot from it), and it offers no protection against theft or local disasters such as fire. Alternatively, you can use Time Machine to back up to a disk that is connected directly to your network rather than to a specific Mac. Most people will think of Applea€™s Time Capsule for this methoda€”a network router with a built-in hard diska€”and indeed ita€™s the simplest option, but you dona€™t have to go with that. Good because: All the advantages of Time Machine, but more convenient, especially for laptop users, since backups happen automatically over your home network. But be aware that: Backups are a little slower (or indeed can be much slower, depending on the speed of your network or the bandwidth of the method by which your Macs connect to it) and restoring is even slower still.
If your internal disk fails, you can just boot from the external clone and continue as if nothing had changed. Connect a cheap little hard disk, tuck it out of the way, and just let your Mac clone to it daily. Technically, you can also clone to a disk image on a network drive rather than to a local disk, but while this has merit in edge cases, ita€™s not usually the best option.
Good because: Creates perfect copy of your internal disk, which you can restore from, or, best of all, boot from in an emergency.
But be aware that: Therea€™s no versioning, it can be slow depending on the interface, and therea€™s no protection against local disasters. In picking an external disk to use with Time Machine or cloning (or even for use on a network), the temptation is to pick a cheap, simple hard disk, and though thata€™s fine, you can give yourself some extra protection by choosing a RAID disk. RAID disks use two or more hard disks inside a single enclosure, and while they can be configured in increasingly complex ways the more disks they have inside them, for our purposes the key thing is that one of these ways is to mirror the contents of one of the internal drives to the other constantly, automatically. The two disks just appear as a single disk as far as your Mac is concerned, so therea€™s no added complexity.
A quick aside to encourage you to check out the enclosures from Drobo; they dona€™t use traditional RAID systems, but they give the same redundancy benefits, and allow you to mix and match drives and to grow your storage cheaply and organically in a really useful way. Companies such as ioSafe make disks that can withstand fire and flooding, and while these still dona€™t offer you any specific protection against someone breaking into your home and office and stealing your stuff, they at least give some peace of mind by guarding against local catastrophesa€”at least for a while. If you're worried about a fire or flood, you can get a hard drive that can survive such disasters. You can get fire- and waterproof disks that connect to your Mac like any other regular hard disk, and, as above, a NASa€”which also works with Time Machine. Good because: Some protection against local disasters, and can be used for Time Machine (direct or over a network) or cloning. Services such as CrashPlan, Backblaze and Livedrive let you send your files to their servers over the Internet, for a fee.
Dona€™t confuse this with services such as Dropbox, which, while they do broadly the same thing at a technical level, are only designed for tiny subsets of your data, not the whole lota€”and ita€™d be just your luck if you havena€™t put the thing you want in the safe directory to be backed up. Good because: All your data gets sent away to a secure location, so is protected from theft and local disasters. But be aware that: Takes a long time to complete the initial backup on most broadband connections, and could take an impractically long time to restore a full system back again. Rather than paying a company a monthly or annual fee to store your data on its servers, you can get the main benefits of cloud backup simply by backing up over the Internet to a disk stored at a frienda€™s house. CrashPlan allows you to use its software to back up your data to a Internet-connected drive at a friend's house. Of course, as a courtesy, you probably want both to offer them the option of backing up to you, and also offer them a hard disk so that youa€™re not taking up space on their own internal (or external) drives.

Your data is encrypted on the backup drive, so even if you dona€™t entirely trust your friend, they cana€™t see what youa€™re backing up! Good because: Gives you the main benefit of cloud backupa€”that your data is protected from theft or local disastersa€”but without the ongoing cost. But be aware that: Your frienda€™s computer needs to be on for backups to happen, most of the limitations of backing up over the internet detailed above still apply, and you have fewer guarantees about your dataa€™s safety as you would have with a commercial cloud backup service. Wea€™ve detailed the main types of backup that are relevant today; there are others, such as backing up to DVD, using a rotating offsite tape system, and doing smart things with rsync to synchronize local and remote directories, but the ones wea€™ve talked about are the most useful to most people now. Hopefully, then, wea€™ve helped you adopt the right backup system for youa€”or at least, gotten you to plug a sixty-buck hard disk into your Mac for Time Machinea€”but be careful not to get lulled into a false sense of security. Which brings us to your last bit of advice: every so often, do a quick audit to make sure your backup systems are actually running and are backing up as theya€™re supposed to.
The biggest new addition that iOS 8 will bring might turn out to be the new Health application. You can now reply to a text message or an email, Facebook or a Twitter post, directly from the pull-down notification center in iOS 8, without leaving the app you are currently in. When you tap twice on the Home button, the iOS 8 device takes you directly to the multitasking view. Yep, you won't be left only with the new QuickType keyboard on the eventual big-screen iPhone 6. You can now make your family the nuclear group it indeed is, and iOS 8 can automatically share photos, calendar events, reminder alerts, etc., among them. You can now name the threads, add and remove participants, set personalized Do Not Disturbs, and leave threads.
The new iOS 8 search function now enables you to search for almost everything, like news, apps installed on the device, points of interest, and even iTunes songs - all from the Spotlight field.
Mail might not be the most used communication application anymore, but that didn't prevent Apple to intro a few enhancements, like the ability to send up to 5 GB attachments via iCloud Drive, and gesture navigation. Apple has streamlined the iOS 8 interface even further, compared to iOS 7, and brought the number of animations to a minimum across the board, which should bode well for older, slower devices.
Apple has learned its lesson, and improved on the Maps app with a lot of under-the-hood enhancements. The new Handoff extension to AirDrop means that you'll be able to start an email on any Apple device and pick up where you left off on another Apple device. But the data that was on its hard disk or SSDa€”those precious photos, that carefully amassed iTunes library, that work, that novel? We all know this, but understanding the different ways of backing up, and picking a backup strategy thata€™s right for youa€”so that you can rest easy knowing that ita€™s extremely unlikely that youa€™ll lose any of your filesa€”can be tricky.
If you dona€™t see that prompt, just launch System Preferences and pick the hard disk in the Time Machine backup pane. Plus, as well as their individual strengths, you also have three copies of your data, which is great if one or more fails. For this reason ita€™s a good idea to buy a hard disk thata€™s two or more times the size of your internal drivea€”so you have space to store lots of versions. Takes a snapshot of your files every hour, and makes it easy to retrieve deleted and overwritten files with its versioning feature.
This means ita€™s available to all the computers on your network so you can have them backing up centrally, and best of all, they back up completely automatically over the network every hour (either via Wi-Fi or ethernet, depending on how they connect to it). Plugging a hard disk into an AirPort Extremea€™s USB port will make it available on the network for Time Machine, and lots of other Network-Attached Storage (NAS) devices from companies other than Apple also support Time Machine backup. Obviously, you dona€™t want to rely on this solely, or be doing it for long; it might be slow, and it means youa€™re a level of redundancy down, so that if the external clone fails, youa€™re in big trouble. This provides extra redundancy whether youa€™re backing up to it using Time Machine or a cloning app such as SuperDuper, so that even if your internal drive fails and even if one of the disks inside the RAID fails at the same time, you still have one good copy of your data. If you do this, then your Mac and any local backups you have on the premises next to it can be stolen, smashed, burned or drowned, but therea€™s a copy of your data held in a remote location, in a facility that is usually itself secure and which has good data redundancy. Happens all the time you have an internet connection (so great if you travel on business), rather than requiring you to be on your home network as with a Time Capsule, say. Just be careful: ita€™s easy to misconfigure things and to discover too late that you havena€™t backed up the things you thought you had. The best-known way to do this is with CrashPlan; install the free app on their computer (where they can define where they want backups to be stored and how much space to allow you) and then on yours, define them as a backup target, and then just let it run. Backup can help mitigate against data loss, and the more backup systems you have running the less chance there is that youa€™ll lose your wedding pictures, your work documents, your homework. We give you the scoop on what's new, what's best and how to make the most out of the products you love.
You can monitor the status of the backup operation in the iTunes status screen.For music, movies, TV shows, apps, and books you have purchased - these stay in iCloud and don't count towards your 5 GB of free storage quota, so you can use the storage to back up your mail, documents and recent media that hasn't been synced to your computer.

The app collects your health and fitness data, such as daily activities, a calorie counter, heart rate, blood pressure, sleep patterns, and so on. Those interactive notifications have been rumored for a while before the iOS 8 announcement, and now they are here.
Not only can you preview the apps that are running in the background, but you can access your most frequently used contacts directly from the multitasking view, too.
The new iOS 8 keyboard will suggest whole phrases, based on what you have typed, not only words. Third-party keyboards will also be able to make a cameo, which bodes well for all you Swype-loving aficionados. Family sharing allows you to share your apps, music, movies and TV shows with one another, and even your iTunes account. Not only that, but you can easily record and send a voice text, stream a video, or share your location mid-convo, and all can be done within the new messaging app.
Siri now also features the Shazam song recognition service, and lets you purchase content from iTunes with your voice.
You can now store more photos in the cloud than you can have in your device alone, thanks to the new iCloud Drive service. Each app that works with iCloud Drive will sport its own folder inside the Drive's interface, too.
With a swipe gesture you can now send an email to the trash, flag it, or see more details about it.
In addition, numerous new tweaks to the way things are done have popped up, helping the iOS 8 users navigate the stock apps, and the interface.
That goes especially for users in China, where a massive amount of new map data has been uploaded, and vector ones at that.
The feature will work with Apple Mail, messaging through iMessage, tab syncing through Safari, and it will even allow you to make and receive calls on your Mac, while the call is run through your iPhone as a relay. The best case scenario is that you pay hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars to a data recovery specialist to try to get some back, and the worst case is that ita€™s gone for good.
Indeed, they can offer other features besides; see a€?Fire- and waterproof disks,a€? below.
Cost can mount upa€”though do explore a€?familya€? plans if you want to get everyone backing up. Indeed, you can do the initial backup to a disk connected to your computer first, and then attach it to the computer at your frienda€™s house, to speed up that initial backup process. Things can still go wrong, though, so be vigilant, and if one of your backup systems (or your Mac) goes awry, fix and replace it as soon as you can to keep up your protection. These backups will run automatically when your device is on, plugged in and locked, and will go over Wi-Fi connection, so you don't really need to do much here.
The data collection is no less interesting, too, as some of it will come from external accessories, like Nike's armbands, and some of it will come straight from the Mayo Clinic. For example, on a message that asks "Want to go for a dinner and a movie," it will give you canned answer options like "What do you have planned?" QuickType will also get better with time, by learning your vocabulary, and adjusting to your typing habits. On the plus side, kids will need permission to buy apps from their parents, as you can define their devices with Family Sharing, and even use the Find my iPhone to track them at all times. As mentioned, pricing starts from free for the first five gigs, and you can hit up to 1 TB of fluffy storage. Handoff will make it very easy to connect your Mac to an automatic hotspot created on your iPhone, too. That's right, Apple has developed Health in conjunction with one of the best clinics in the US, and the convergence will allow you to pull your medical records, lab results, and illness status, as well as check your morning run statistics, all from one Health hub.
You can place your bid straight from the notification center, too, which adds interactive elements to the widget experience, and increases their usage tremendously.
The first 5 GB of storage there are absolutely free, and you can get 20 GB for $0.99 per month, or go all the way up to 1TB. It is not yet clear whether developers will have to go through a vetting process, before their widgets make it in the notification center of your iPhone and iPad, or it's going to be the Wild Wild Widget land there, but the new system is a very welcome and uncharacteristic step, which is likely to earn Apple's a lot of user accolades. Previous purchases may be unavailable if they have been refunded or are no longer in the iTunes Store, App Store, or iBooks Store. OTA is pretty self-explanatory, as the device prompts you there is a new version of iOS, and you just have to tap on, following the instructions to get the upgrade.

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